By Dan Spalding
WARSAW – This was a “news year” for the ages.
The coronavirus, alone, was such a massive issue with wide-ranging impact throughout the world – including Kosciusko County – might well be the biggest event in our lifetime.
But then add to that, widespread demonstrations and protests over racial injustice running overlapping with a tumultuous election season – all on display in our communities –– and it all adds up to the most heart-wrenching and important years in at least a century.
But there were lots of other newsworthy events happening across Kosciusko County.
Here are seven more topics (not necessarily in any order) we thought were worthy of a quick recap:
Warsaw stabbing murder
One man died and two were injured in a Dec. 15 stabbing attack off Fox Farm Road. Vickie Wooldridge, 44, was captured shortly afterward and is facing numerous charges. Her boyfriend, Matthew Lucas, died and his parents were injured in the attack.
Grace student’s death
Grace College student Bethany Nesbitt died in late October as she was recovering from COVID-19 in a dorm room. The story reminded many that the virus can attack young people and underscored the difficulties in trying to provide a safe environment.
Women sentenced to 16 years for child abuse
Sentences were handed for five people were handed out in a horrific child abuse case. Jammy Stacy received the harshest sentence.
Drones, dogs used in search of 12-year-old who died
Reports of a missing 12-year-old led to a large scale search for Ayden Elijah Adee. Authorities determined his death was a suicide.
Two teens arrested for plotting a massacre
Two Rochester teens were arrested and accused of plotting a Columbine-type massacre at a Rochester community school.
Woman convicted in child’s death
A woman accused in a fatal child abuse case tried to represent herself in her trial. Courtney Kincaid, the 30-year-old Columbia City babysitter, was found guilty in the death of 11-month-old Emma Grace Leeman. She was sentenced to 30 years in prison.
Amish Acres reopens during Pandemic
After 50 years in operation, Amish Acres — one of the biggest tourist attractions in northern Indiana — closed at the end of 2019. The property went to auction in February 2020 and after more than two hours of bidding, sold for more than $4 million. In March, the new owners came together to announce exciting updates coming to the property, including its new name — The Barns at Nappanee, Home of Amish Acres.
The first of three new hotels in Warsaw opened April 24, 2020. Fairfield by Marriott is a four-floor hotel on SR 15N near Kohl’s department store. Holiday Inn Express & Suites located at 300 Prosperity Drive, Warsaw, opened for business on May 29. Tru by Hilton, at 200 Prosperity Drive, Warsaw, is slated to open in 2020.
Notable deaths in the community
2020 will be remembered as the year of the pandemic, which took the lives of 69 people in Kosciusko County. There were also deaths among prominent local leaders this year. Here are some of those:
- Superior Court Judge David Cates
- Milford Firefighter Mitch Price
- Warsaw officer Jason M. Dobbins
- Silver Lake resident Phil Shalley
- Former Governor Joe Kernan